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Friday, July 19, 2024

Why do I need to loosen the soil?

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Cultivated flora necessitates meticulous nurturing. Unlike their untamed counterparts, they are unable to thrive in just any setting or under any circumstances. Well, technically they can, but they will suffer ailments and experience a significant decline in both productivity and aesthetic appeal.

To ensure the well-being, vitality, and progressive growth of cultivated plants, they are tended to with great care. The soil is enriched through fertilization and irrigation, timely pruning is conducted, and appropriate treatments and nourishment are administered when necessary. However, it is particularly crucial for such plants to inhabit a loose and airy substrate. This issue is resolved through the timely and proper practice of soil loosening. We shall delve into the reasons behind this technique and its execution in the following discourse.

To delve deeper into this subject, we suggest perusing the article titled “Tiller for Hard Dirt.”

Which plants need loosening

Indeed, soil loosening is an indispensable practice across all crops. The only disparity lies in the frequency of its implementation. For instance, temperamental annual plants necessitate a more frequent application of this technique compared to perennials. With their delicate root systems and accelerated growth, it is imperative that the soil housing such plants remain as airy and lightweight as conceivable. Loosening the soil beneath annuals can be undertaken either daily or at a minimum interval of twice a week, particularly when addressing tender seedlings or newly transplanted shoots.

On the other hand, perennials do not demand the same level of loosening. Timely irrigation and mulching assume greater significance for their sustenance. Nevertheless, the occasional implementation of this procedure does not hinder their well-being. As for perennial berry bushes, soil loosening can be conducted as required, perhaps once or twice a month. At the same time, fruit trees necessitate even less frequent attention, primarily during their early stages of development. Fully matured plants generally do not require such devoted care.

Why the soil is loosened

Seasoned horticulturists and cultivators of vegetables engage in the act of soil loosening for a myriad of reasons. Amongst them, one of paramount importance is the oxygenation of the soil, thereby enhancing its natural aeration. By loosening the soil, a compacted upper layer is prevented from forming. Consequently, a greater influx of oxygen permeates the roots of plants, bestowing a favorable influence on their overall condition and continued growth.

However, the merits of soil loosening extend beyond this purpose, encompassing several other advantageous properties:

  1. Enhanced moisture infiltration: Loosening substantially augments the efficacy of irrigation. The aeration of soil facilitates deeper penetration of water to the roots, preventing stagnation and the formation of surface puddles.
  2. Active nourishment of plants: In addition to water, the application of fertilizers becomes more effective subsequent to soil loosening. Nutrients are able to permeate to greater depths, stimulating the development of the root system.
  3. Preservation of soil quality: Earth that is infrequently loosened crumbles and stagnates. A dense crust forms on the surface, impeding the passage of moisture. This, in turn, fosters the growth of mold, fungi, and other detrimental manifestations.
  4. Elimination of surface pests: Mechanical treatment of the soil eradicates nests and cocoons of pests, leading to their demise. Regular soil loosening ensures the virtual absence of such nuisances.
  5. Reduction in weed proliferation: Firstly, loosening disrupts the germination and growth of pernicious weed seeds and sprouts. Secondly, unlike cultivated plants, weeds do not thrive under constant mechanical intervention. With regular loosening, their occurrence diminishes progressively.

Ultimately, soil loosening proves invaluable in salvaging plants when they are planted in heavy, compacted soils, as not every terrain possesses a light and fertile composition. However, through the appropriate and regular implementation of loosening procedures, the condition of the soil can be significantly improved, thereby aiding the growth of plants. Indeed, any crop thrives in well-drained soil that possesses an airy quality.

Furthermore, regular soil loosening expedites the development of plants, fostering accelerated growth rates and yielding bountiful, superior-quality crops. It precludes moisture from lingering on the surface, effectively averting water stagnation.

The importance of loosening in agriculture

Loosening, often referred to as “arid irrigation” by numerous horticulturists, holds profound meaning. It entails dismantling the uppermost, coarse layer of soil, which tends to form a compacted crust. Through the aid of specialized implements, the surface transforms into a softer, airier realm, rendering it more receptive to the influx of oxygen and moisture. Naturally, this substantial enhancement engenders a remarkable improvement in its overall quality.

When embarking upon the loosening process, an array of tools can be employed:

  • Delicate rakes or implements designed explicitly for loosening purposes.
  • Sturdier hoes, serve as invaluable companions for this task.
  • Cultivators and robust tillers, capable of undertaking the arduous endeavor.

The choice of a suitable tool hinge primarily upon the unique characteristics of the plot at hand, in addition to the expanse of cultivated land. Furthermore, due consideration must be given to the appropriate depth of loosening.

Failure on the part of the cultivator to adhere to a regular loosening routine or outright neglect of this indispensable procedure results in a significant deterioration of crop conditions. A dense layer of crust develops beneath them, stifling the penetration of nutrients and oxygen, while moisture becomes trapped on the surface. Consequently, the soil’s quality declines precipitously. The plants fall prey to sickness, stunted growth, and even the risk of perishing.

When to loosen

In general, there exist no rigid decrees. The act of loosening is indispensable for the prosperous cultivation of any crop and should be conducted as the need arises. For tender shoots of annual plants, a frequency of at least twice a week is recommended, while less exacting perennial shrubs necessitate loosening at least once a month.

In this regard, it is prudent to adhere to certain guidelines. The initial loosening of the season should promptly follow the springtime soil excavation, approximately in the midst to the conclusion of April. Transplanted seedlings of tomatoes, cabbage, eggplant, and peppers ought to be subjected to their first loosening roughly 10 to 14 days after being placed in their permanent growth abode. During this period, they shall establish roots and foster the development of their root systems.

Potato bushes should undergo loosening approximately one and a half weeks after the tubers have been planted. Care must be exercised to pass the rake solely in the spaces between the rows so as not to harm the nascent shoots.

For carrot or beet seeds, soil loosening is permissible long before the emergence of sprouts. However, this procedure should be restricted to the areas between the rows, avoiding any intrusion where the plants have been sown.

Garlic and onions are candidates for loosening as soon as their initial shoots make their appearance. However, utmost caution must be exercised to avoid inflicting harm upon their delicate sprouts.

As the formation of a crust becomes evident, recurrent procedures should be performed. It is vital to recognize that loosening stands as a pivotal prerequisite for soil vitality. In the autumn, prior to the onset of the initial frost, this practice must be undertaken, thereby ensuring the demise of harmful larvae and parasites residing within the upper strata of the soil.

The depth of loosening directly corresponds to the plant species in question. A depth of 10 to 11 cm suffices for herbaceous annuals, while perennials and semi-shrubs demand a depth of 15 to 20 cm.

Irrespective of soil composition, regular soil loosening shall yield remarkable improvements, bestowing vitality upon the plants. It shall enrich the soil with vital nutrients, facilitate the flow of air to the roots, and enhance both aeration and drainage.

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